Too Jewish
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Too Jewish

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  416 ratings  ·  63 reviews
When young, brainy Bernie Cooper escapes the Nazis and ends up in New Orleans, he thinks at first that he’s landed softly, almost immediately finding love with Letty, not only a nice Jewish girl, but fifth-generation Southern upper crust. But suddenly, snobberies he couldn’t even have guessed at are set in motion. It seems Letty’s prominent Jewish parents hate him for bein...more
ebook, 241 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by booksBnimble
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Alison Dellit
This wasn't a good book. The characters are either villains or victims, and the reason the victims choose to behave as such is left totally unclear. Why the family whose viewpoint the story is told from didn't just leave town, refuse to take money, and cut the toxic people out of their lives is never fully explained. The villain's motivation is never explained either - these people are simply irredeemably awful to everyone around them. The book had a petulant and yet deeply sad tone to me, as if...more

I literally just finished this book. Will return to review.

Returned now to write a short review.

There are books that have bumps and some dragging for short periods, and that have glorious writing, This is one of those books. This is also a book that I think is a rare find. The author's character development, the narrators' voices and how they used them, and the flow of language, all drew me in from page one. I was totally invested in the lives lost, lives...more
Annette Reynolds
Sad, frustrating story about the costs of guilt (imagined or real).

Very well written short generational story about the Holocaust, the families left behind, and the ones to come.

The author's easy flowing style (and just enough humor to keep the book real)kept this story moving through three narrations: Bernie (the father), Letty (the mother), and Darby ( their daughter) and how all three are affected by one act of prejudice and closed-minded snobbery.

There are enough typos and punctuation err...more
It's amazing what a person will do for love. This Bernie stayed in a place that was destined to make him miserable because of love. It's amazing what prejucide will make people do - and that's sad.

I gave the book 5 stars because it was so honest but it is painful book to read. Everyone should read it and then rethink how they treat each other. This book really touched several nerves on a personal level. It reaffirmed my belief that there are some people who are so consumed with self loathing th...more
This book was written in three parts and from the viewpoints of the three main characters, Bernie, his wife Letty and their daughter Darby. It is based in New Orleans not in Europe and it tells of the struggles of holocaust escaper Bernie in dealing with his complex emotions having left family behind in Germany. Also there are issues surrounding his orthodoxy versus his wife's liberal Jewish family upbringing. Seeing the story unfold with the three characters is very compelling and one gets to u...more
This book is actually semi-biographical, based around the author's own family, I understand she changed some of the details, presumably for dramatic effect. However, the nuts and bolts of the story are based in fact - which, in hindsight, makes this quite a disturbing read.

The story revolves around Bernie, his escape from Nazi Germany and his new life in the United States - specifically New Orleans, home for a small community of Modern Jews.

Told from the point of view of Bernie, his wife and chi...more
Sherrie E
A Must Read

Through my life I have met and known people like the characters in this book. Age and maturity determined how I have felt or judged these individuals. I am always amazed at how prejudiced Jews can be about other Jews or family members.
This book tells a wonderful but sad story about the effects on the life of one family living through the time of the holocaust and it's affect on their entire lives. Personally I want everyone reminded of that horrific time because too many try to make...more
As someone who has always had a fascination with Holocaust survival stories, I was interested in this work of fiction told from 3 members of a Jewish family living in America who face discrimination from fellow Jews based on class. It's the idea of wanting to assimilate to a wealthy American lifestyle and the struggle of shedding their own ethnic identity in the process. It's a story of a couple and their daughter coming from different class upbringings fighting against the crazy wealthy mother-...more
There should be a Did Not Finish because I didn't care star.
This was such a wonderful story that draws on the events of WWII for one young man and blends it with his new life in New Orleans. We follow Bernie's emotional journey after he narrowly escapes Nazi Germany for a better life, only to leave his mother behind to a destiny he could hardly fathom. We see how the Holocaust effects Bernie and those that will become his support system in the United States.

Friedmann did a great job of breaking this story up into different sections of family members but...more
David Press
Patty Friedman's Too Jewish is deceptively simple. It is three overlapping first-person stories that collectively chronicle the life of Bernie, who flees Germany a nick ahead of the holocaust; of Letty, the woman from a wealthy New Orleans Jewish family who marries Bernie; and of Darby, their daughter.

Other novels have explored the stories of Jewish immigration to NYC. Friedman shows us an alternative path, a path where the existing Jewish community is not welcoming and sympatheic, but disapprov...more
Good book. I am having trouble deciding on whether to give this 3 or 4 stars. I usually save 4s for books I will never forget and I totally love and I can't decide if this is one of those books or not.

I have it in my biography folder even though the book is categorized as fiction. The book is about the author's father who as a 23 year old young man (and Jewish) escaped from Nazi German at the last possible minute...leaving his mother behind. This is his story, and is told from 3 people, the man,...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. It was engaging but I am able to see and agree with both the positive and negative reviews. I recognized some of the sentiments and actions - especially the "better not knowing", the not wanting your children to know, the "too-Jewish" (although the author doesn't explore the flip side of "not Jewish-enough"). But the sheer ignorance, callousness, and outright cruelty of Jewish people in the book regarding refuges and survivors of the Holocaust (especially a...more
Ed Fritz
An Emotional Experience

Ms. Friedman has created a small cast which comes to life in this book. They are real people some of whom you come to love and some you hate. I cheered the good people and was disgusted with the bad ones, but I was devastated and emotionally torn at the end. This was easily a five star book which I can fully recommend.
This book was annoying. Jewish had absolutely nothing to do with the spineless, spoiled, rich girl or her husband. Do not waste your time unless you want to read a book about a grown man and woman letting parents manupulate and mistreat them.
I liked part I and Part III but Letty's story, Part II, was nothing but a continual whine which I skimmed through as quickly as possible. So 3 stars because I was interested in finding out how the story ended and did finish the book.
Disappointing book that I had wanted to like but couldn't. I thought it would be a quirky novel but the author just wanted a good enough writer to carry it through and so I felt it crossed the line to politically incorrect and simply inappropriate. As one reviewer wrote, the characters are all either villains or victims. The story is told from three viewpoints and none are devoid of being awkward and anti-Semitic. Some of the subject matter is just too serious to begin with to be treated in such...more
From the 1st page until the page I was wrapped in emotions. I am a 45yo converted Jew, married to a man who was raised Jewish and whose grandparents were immigrants from Hungary and Italy at the start of WW2. The story grabbed me, it hurt my heart, it made me sad and it made me angry. Those are good things because it means that the author grabbed ME and pulled me in to the story she was telling. The end moved me to sobbing tears, my heart broke for Bernie. What makes a novel excellent is that it...more
"Letty picks up where Bernie leaves off, and we see this is no ordinary rich girl, but rather an unspoiled, curious, generous-spirited young woman who sees Bernie for who he is and falls in love despite all the obstacles thrown up by her parents."

This is a quote from the Goodreads description. Boy, do I disagree. For me, Letty is the true villan of the story. I did not like her! She was a horrible person, two-faced, selfish, spoiled, mean, and dare I say stupid. She is the character who disgust...more
I got this book on a whim as a free kindle download. I like it and I like the way it is written. I usually judge a book by how much I want to keep reading after the first few paragraphs. Not necessarily whether or not it starts with a "bang," but whether or not it draws me in. This book did just that. Some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional. For example, the grandmother is just all evil. I've known people like her, but even they have some degree of self awareness and occasionally they a...more
Rachel Lindvall
An interesting story. I didn't feel the writing was all that special but the topic carried it for me personally
I couldn't put this book down. It is the story of a German Jewish refugee whose mother remained in Europe during the Nazi stranglehold and destruction of the Jews. I had a personal connection with it because Bernard goes to New Orleans and meets a wonderful Jewish girl but her wealthy, influential and highly educated parents (much like my paternal ancestors from South Carolina) minimize their Jewish identity and berate their daughter because Bernie is "too Jewish". Letty, Bernie's wife, is forev...more
Wonderful read. Whew! the emotional games people play.....................
Wonderful slice of life story told from all three members of a small family, reminded me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Bernie Cooper (nee Kuper) came to America to escape Nazi Germany. After joining the American army he finds himself in New Orleans where he meets his future wife, Letty. The story starts with Bernie as your narrator then the story is picked up by his wife Letty and finished from the point of view of their daughter, Darby. Well written and bittersweet. This was an excellent way to...more
two stars for decent premise.
This is quite a special little book. Based on aspects of the author's life, this novel deals with several issues that can touch anyone, as well as the impact of the Holocaust on her own father's, and family's, lives. But the most striking characters had to be the American grandparents, grandmother especially. As even now we cannot imagine the evil in people that led to the Holocaust, well hey, we can't comprehend the evil in these two upper-class, assimilated New Orleans, Jewish -- but not too J...more
Enjoyed this book
If I could have done 2 1/2 stars, I would have. I did like it, but at times I was really wondering what was the point here in this book? I get that Bernie was "too Jewish" for Letty's family. I don't understand Bernie's willingness to be less Jewish in some ways just to make her family shut up. I absolutely hate when a book has a mean for no apparent reason character who does something horrifying and gets away with it. So although I enjoyed the book, I was confused by some of it and irritated by...more
I bought this book after I came back from working in America as gap year since I tried to figure out what the Jewish culture like and I thought it woudl be a great idea to start hearing some stories of the old Jews. Well, I finished this book during the first month I came back to England and so the American memories can still come up to my mind when reading the book. A good write about this particur Jew's family and what difficulties they came across within the sociaty and within the family itse...more
Complicated psychological story of a young German Jewish man who escapes the Nazis just before WW II, imigrates to America and eventually marries and starts a family in New Orleans. His mean spirited in-laws become the focus of the story as it's told in first person narrative by first himself, then his wife and finally his daughter. Interesting but at times sad and depressing. Look over the reviews before reading the book.
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